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Profile Mahoujin Tsukai
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Message 619443 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 6:24:14 UTC

I've seen people online using MANY computers to run SETI@Home. Sometimes, these PCs are only Pentium Is.

Wouldn't they be losing out on performance per watt?
I wonder how long their electrical bills are.

Is there an advantage to using multiple slow PCs rather than just a single modern one?

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Message 619445 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 6:29:51 UTC - in response to Message 619443.  

I've seen people online using MANY computers to run SETI@Home. Sometimes, these PCs are only Pentium Is.

Wouldn't they be losing out on performance per watt?
I wonder how long their electrical bills are.

Is there an advantage to using multiple slow PCs rather than just a single modern one?



No, there is not. I suspect those people are just taking advantage of the hardware that is available to them without investing money in new equipment. But they are probably paying more for power used per work done.
Newer cpus are more power efficient, especially the Core 2s as far as Seti goes.
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Message 619446 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 6:37:28 UTC

ummmmmmm
no
i can't think of one.
with the multibeam workunits coming out the pentium I's, II's and most of the III's are becoming essentially obsolete.
this includes the same speed AMD cpu's....
i'm thinking anything under 1.8ghz isn't worth running SAH on.
and that is being conservative....
if you use the Chicken app....why even bother with anything using
less than the sse2 instruction?

but this happened in Classic....the change from classic version 3
to classic version 3.3 made an 8hr workunit into a 12 hr workunit
on a pentium II 400mhz....
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Message 619465 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 7:33:23 UTC - in response to Message 619446.  

ummmmmmm
no
i can't think of one.
with the multibeam workunits coming out the pentium I's, II's and most of the III's are becoming essentially obsolete.
this includes the same speed AMD cpu's....
i'm thinking anything under 1.8ghz isn't worth running SAH on.
and that is being conservative....
if you use the Chicken app....why even bother with anything using
less than the sse2 instruction?

but this happened in Classic....the change from classic version 3
to classic version 3.3 made an 8hr workunit into a 12 hr workunit
on a pentium II 400mhz....



Just a minute, there. Nothing has become obsolete. If anything, the current situation makes the slow rigs more valuable than in the last few months. With only an initial issue of 2 on the WUs, the fast cruncher will wait on the slow one, even if it takes weeks. And that slow cruncher's efforts will still be valuable science when finally returned.
So this is a good thing as far as DC is concerned, and the Seti project getting the most computing power it can out of it's DC host base. Slow crunchers are no longer just sending in results for credits, they are part of the science now.
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." Alan Dean Foster

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Message 619520 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 11:58:22 UTC
Last modified: 15 Aug 2007, 12:14:35 UTC

Isn't this question kinda the whole point to DC. Old machines that still have life in them, doing valuable work. By themselves worthless so to speak, but together, able to still blow options out of the water.

Take the KLAT2 supercomputer at the University of Kentucky for example. They didn't want to spend millions on a supercomputer so they DCed a 66 AMD machines.

see here

edit - link and facts
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Message 619684 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 18:37:48 UTC - in response to Message 619443.  
Last modified: 15 Aug 2007, 18:40:41 UTC

I've seen people online using MANY computers to run SETI@Home. Sometimes, these PCs are only Pentium Is.

Wouldn't they be losing out on performance per watt?
I wonder how long their electrical bills are.

Is there an advantage to using multiple slow PCs rather than just a single modern one?



Newer computers definitely have advantage because you get more throughput for the same electricity, heat generated, and room space. IMO if you plan on maximizing crunching speed at minimal cost per month, then a new no-frills budget PC makes more sense than several old machines. Actually I wonder if someone's done an analysis to see at what point would this cause someone to save money in bills.

On the other hand, if you have old hardware then why not run them? This question might depend on your view of how BOINC should be run: either on spare cycles not taken up on PCs that you are using, or on dedicated hardware thats cut on 24/7 just for BOINC. In my case the old machine has been converted to a Linux server with BOINC running on extra cycles.
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Message 619731 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 19:40:22 UTC

thinking in a green sense...
the older computers are obsolete in the
sense their carbon footprint/workunit ratio
is not enviromentally friendly.

sure they are doing "science"
but are they more suited to being donated to schools and educating the young or for doing "science" and little else?

i have a number of Pentium II's and III's...
i'm not running them...
i donate them to schools as soon as i refurbish them.

there is a balance of economy and science....
paying hundreds per month for electricity and
eeking out wu's is not by any means beneficial to science.

the science that isn't done by a
Pentium 100mhz will most assuredly be done by a much more efficient
C2D Quad...probably yours Msattler...lol

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Message 619815 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 21:16:14 UTC - in response to Message 619443.  

I've seen people online using MANY computers to run SETI@Home. Sometimes, these PCs are only Pentium Is.

Wouldn't they be losing out on performance per watt?
I wonder how long their electrical bills are.

Is there an advantage to using multiple slow PCs rather than just a single modern one?


Any one of msattlers rigs on its own, is faster than all of my fleet put together. Probably cheaper to run as well.

But that alone isn't a valid reason for me to change any of my hardware.

If I were running a dedicated 'farm' the energy used/crunching ratio might be important. As it is, SETI only gets my 'spare' cpu cycles.

Until such a time as my rigs either die or become too slow for their main work, hardware upgrade is not on the cards.

Bottom line is contribute in whatever way you feel comfortable with.
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Message 619856 - Posted: 15 Aug 2007, 21:58:12 UTC - in response to Message 619815.  

hmmm, a massively OC'd rig with a refrigerator attached? I'm not sure how efficient that would be, but certainly quick :D

"Living by the wisdom of computer science doesn't sound so bad after all. And unlike most advice, it's backed up by proofs." -- Algorithms to live by: The computer science of human decisions.
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Message 619952 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 0:05:29 UTC
Last modified: 16 Aug 2007, 0:12:14 UTC

I like your point jason, and rather humorous too. It's all up to the person who is running the hardware. Is it worth it? Me personally, most of my hardware is either old machines I have built, or machines that were given to me.

edit - addon
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Message 619975 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 0:41:51 UTC - in response to Message 619815.  


If I were running a dedicated 'farm' the energy used/crunching ratio might be important. As it is, SETI only gets my 'spare' cpu cycles.

Going back quite a few generations of CPU and OS (at least for Windows), the CPU goes into a _much_ lower power state when it runs out of things to do.

Running BOINC on an old slow machine raises power consumption appreciably.

If one is running several old slow machines, it is likely that turning them off, and applying the savings on power to a modern Core 2 Duo, or better yet Quad, not overclocked to the insane power increase level, would give considerably more SETI crunch, at lower total cost.

If you wonder how much your system power differs turning SETI on and off, you might like to purchase an inline meter. The Kill-A-Watt, despite its silly name, seems pretty well regarded, and can be bought on the Net for a bit under $25 US. My Q6600 system, with several extra drives and such, goes from about 155W total system input power to about 217 between idle and full BOINC. The change on the Gallatin I had in this box previously, was bigger, and that machine produced only about a tenth the BOINC output this one does. The old, slow machines being discussed here have small incremental power consumption, but far worse BOINC/watt than my Gallatin. The Conroe-generation chips are a real performance/power breakthrough in the Intel line (the Prescotts were dogs on the same measure, as is well known).

The concept that the original SETI was using completely "free" computing power became untrue when Microsoft did something smarter with idle time than jumping point, which happened a really, really long time ago. The fancy low-power modes in the CPUs themselves came later, but that and CMOS were the major departure points.

Now on an 8086 system running Windows 3, maybe not, (8086 was a depletion-load NMOS design, and changed power little with activity at a given clock rate and supply voltage), but starting with the 80386 the CPU was CMOS, with a huge change in power with internal activity level.

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Message 620059 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 4:07:42 UTC - in response to Message 619975.  


Going back quite a few generations of CPU and OS (at least for Windows), the CPU goes into a _much_ lower power state when it runs out of things to do.

Running BOINC on an old slow machine raises power consumption appreciably.

If one is running several old slow machines, it is likely that turning them off, and applying the savings on power to a modern Core 2 Duo, or better yet Quad, not overclocked to the insane power increase level, would give considerably more SETI crunch, at lower total cost.





it might be true that the modern processors do more work/watt in power terms, but lets look at this in short term costs.

Cheap OEM P4 is $300+ {give or take a bit}, custom builds well....... the last one i priced together that was half way decent {dual core, 1GB ram, microATX} was pushing that same price or better. now that doesn't sound like alot to many here but dropping that much when older machines are still getting the job done isn't worth the short time expense. i love the fact that the "Older" computers are still around getting it done, just at a slower rate still running none the less.
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Message 620095 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 5:49:14 UTC
Last modified: 16 Aug 2007, 5:52:09 UTC

Hmmm...

This discussion is compelling...

I'm one of those infamous "Dinosaur" crunchers myself--and here's my situation:

I do have 2 fairly efficient newer boxes, but this discussion clearly focuses on the junk machines...

I paid absolutely nothing for 4 of the 6 functioning computers I crunch with here on SETI@Home. Rather than junking them (since honestly--not even the underfunded local schools want these dinosaurs) and polluting the landfills with plastic, I think I'd rather opt for the second leg in the three 'R' recycling triangle.

The first 'R' (Reduce) isn't applicable, since I didn't buy these boxes... I'm too late in the purchasing chain for that... The third 'R' (Recycling) is difficult at best with old machines--uncoded plastics, and lack of high-tech recycling facilities in my area mean that they'd probably just end up in a landfill--even if I took them to the local recycling center... So, I'm left with the second 'R' (Reuse)... And, these boxes do offer me a bit of extra file backup capacity, as well as contributing to science...

Maybe I'm nuts to run them--but hey... Between the options of letting them sit around collecting dust (externally rather than internally), throwing them away, or running SETI on them--well, I decided that I'd just set them up to crunch data until they die!

Still, despite the multitude of high-efficiency flourescents in my apartment, and making my local commutes by bicycle, I may still need to consider these dinasaurs in my carbon footprint--as mentioned here...

Thanks for the thread, MT
Keep on crunching, all...
SETI@Home Forever!


___Tklop (Step-Founder, U.S. Air Force team)
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Message 620105 - Posted: 16 Aug 2007, 6:24:14 UTC - in response to Message 619856.  

hmmm, a massively OC'd rig with a refrigerator attached? I'm not sure how efficient that would be, but certainly quick :D


LOL...very true. I have stated that phase cooling the quad to get another 10-15% out of it is most assuredly NOT cost effective. But very good sport.
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." Alan Dean Foster

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Message boards : Number crunching : SETI farms


 
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